Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Portland Gets Costly 2-1 Win Over Seattle, Then Loses Controversially 3-1 to Victoria

Bukarts had a goal in his second straight game
Portland 2 vs. Seattle 1:
-The Portland Winterhawks, once again were able to snap another three-game losing streak Friday night, as they pulled out a 2-1 win over Seattle. The Hawks were able to win due to solid team defense and a great game from goalie Adin Hill. In the win, though, Portland lost to-six forward and New York Rangers' prospect Keegan Iverson, to an apparent concussion. They used the five-minute major penalty on Seattle d-man Turner Ottenbreit to score one of their two goals and a third period defensive meltdown by Seattle to score their other. They then withstood a late rally from the T-birds to get their third win out of seven games, so far in their 12-game season series.

There was no scoring in the first period as the two rivals slowly felt each other out. The best look for Seattle in the period was on a rebound in front for Mathew Barzal, that Adin Hill made a huge pad save on. Rihards Bukarts hit the post for Portland late in the period on Portland's best look.

Then, as Keegan Iverson tried to lay a hit on defenseman Turner Ottenbreit, the Seattle blue-liner brought his arms up and made direct and forceful contact to Iverson's head. The forward had to be helped off the ice and did not return. While there was no initial penalty call, after the scrum that ensued, Otenbreit was handed a five-minute major for checking-to-the-head and a game misconduct. Later, we would find out that he would receive a three-game suspension for his actions. As Seattle was already without injured d-men Jerret Smith and Jarret Tyszka, this meant their blue-line was even more depleted. Portland eventually converted on their five-minute power play as Rihards Bukarts fired a one-timer off of Seattle d-man Ethan Bear and past goalie Landon Bow.

In the third period, Portland doubled their lead on one of stranger moments of the season that I have seen. Rodrigo Abols stole the puck away from Seattle forward Donovan Neuls in the Portland zone and then as he skated two-on-two the other way, Seattle rookie d-man Jared Pelechaty, while trying to skate backwards, lost and edge and slid to his right, taking out the feet of fellow d-man Brandon Schuldhaus. This gave Abols and Alex Schoneborn a two-on-zero that Abols was able to dunk home for the Latvian sweep on Portland goals. Seattle made it close with a power play goal from Donovan Neuls on a deft deflection of a Bryan Allbee point shot. The T-birds had several "Grade A" chances late, but Adin Hill was brilliant, helping Portland to a big 2-1 win.

Hill stopped 28 of 29 shots for Portland and Bow was game on 32 of 34 Portland shots.

Portland and Seattle' power plays were both 1/4 on the night.

F/O %
Abols 1 0 1 4 0/1 0% 3 1 0
0 0 0 4 13/26 50% 3 1 2
Iverson 0 0 0 3 - - 4 0 0
1015 --200
Veloso0000 --410
De Jong0001  --212

Game Notes:
-Mathew Barzal has really struggled against Portland this season. He has two goals and one assist in six games vs. Portland only one assist over his last four games vs. the Hawks. He has had his chances, including what appeared to be two chances with Hill out of position in this one. On the latter, he put the puck wide of a gaping net with under two minutes play and his team down one. While some his struggles at this point, I think, are due to him gripping his stick too hard vs. Portland, a lot of credit should be given to Portland defenseman Jack Dougherty. The Nashville Predators' second-round draft pick is out there almost every single time that Barzal is and has made it really hard for the highly skilled center to create. His ability to body up on the smaller Barzal and take away the space that he is used to is one reason and how skilled he is at using an active stick to take away the passing lanes that the creative Barzal likes is another. The battle between Seattle's best forward and Portland's best d-man is something to watch over the last five games of the season series.
-Bukarts has goals in consecutive games for Portland, which is a great sign for a forward that has had streaky tendencies this year. I think the fact that Cody Glass has improved so much since being Bukarts' center is not a coincidence. He has to have learned so much from a skilled guy like Bukarts that has elite level skill in puck-possession and passing. These are two things that Glass has gotten better at as the season has gone on.
-Jared Hauf and Alex Schoenborn do not like one another. The two came together in about four different scrums throughout the game, which should not be a surprise as they both like to play the agitator role for their team. Hauf was at his best after Adin Hill lost his stick making a save in the second period. The 6'5" defenseman skated on top of Hill's stick and just stood there. Hill lost his cool and Seattle ended up getting a power play out of the scenario.
-Alex Overhardt was scratched for the first time this season for Portland. He was not mentioned in the previous week's weekly injury report and played Wednesday in Everett. Skyler McKenzie moved to third-line center in his place. This is the first McKenzie has played in the middle for Portland during five-on-five since early last season. Bret Clayton was moved up to left wing on the third line with McKenzie and Colton Veloso. He played really well in this role and showed off how much he has improved at using his body to protect the puck down low in the opponent's zone.
-Evan Weinger moved up to replace Iverson on the top line, after the right wing left the game.

Ethan Price had an assist in his return to Portland
Victoria 3 @Portland 1:
It does not get much more controversial then Portland's 3-1 loss to Victoria Saturday night. Portland had two goals taken away, while Victoria had a controversial goal allowed. Ultimate;y, referees aside, though Portland took a 1-0 lead into the third period vs. Victoria and could not hold on as they gave up three third-period goals to lose 3-1. The Royals set their franchise record win streak with their eighth straight win.

Portland opened the scoring on a beauty of a goal by their 16-yar-old center Cody Glass. The goal was set up on a fantastic cross-ice pass on the rush from Rihards Bukarts. The Winnipeg native then sniped the puck over the right shoulder of Griffen Outhouse for his eighth goal of the year. Portland scored again later in the period as a Carter Czaikowski shot from the right wing was deflected down by Glass and right to a waiting Rodrigo Abols, who poked it in, seemingly for a 2-0 Portland lead. The referees (Kyle Kowalski and Dexter Rasmussen) ruled that Glass had tipped the puck down, above the crossbar and thus the play should have been ruled dead as soon as Abols touched the puck. The angles that I was privy to, did not warrant a clear ruling in this manner, in my opinion. However, due to the initial ruling being that Glass's stick was too high, the easier move was just to hold up the ruling and take away the goal.

There was no scoring in the second period, but the Victoria Royals controlled most of the play due to a tenacious fore-check that forced Portland to turn the puck over consistently at their own blue line or neutral zone. Victoria nearly tied the score, but were denied by Portland's smallest player. A Ryan Gagnon point shot was tipped between Adin HIll's legs and appeared to be ready to trickle in. However, Portland d-man Carter Czaikowski laid out and dove at the puck, knocking it to safety.

Then in the third period, after Cody Glass was denied his second goal of the game by the cross bar, Victoria scored their first of the game. Joe Hicketts fired a point shot that Alex Forsberg got his stick on, tipping it in past Hill. Again, the referees took another look at the goal and though Forsberg's stick appeared to be over the cross bar, since the initial ruling was goal, the decision was made to let the goal stand. Victoria then got the eventual game-winning goal, due to a play by a former Winterhawk. Ethan Price came into Portland's zone with speed and chipped it in on Hill. Portland's goalie could not corral the puck and Ryan Peckford chipped it home for the 2-1 lead. Containing the Royals' speed continued to cause problems for Portland and this led to Victoria's third goal on the night. Vladimir Bobylev caught a very good outlet pass from Gagnon on the right boards and blew past Portland's defenders to get in alone on Hill. He beat Hill in tight and scored his 17th of the year. Portland appeared to get within one goal later in the game, but had that goal taken away as well. Jack Dougherty's shot from the point went wide and Dominic Turgeon was able to flip the puck up on top of Outhouse's body as he lay prone on the ice. Rodrigo Abols got his stick on the puck and poked it into the net. There was no ruling made immediately and instead the referees looked at the replay. The ultimate ruling was no goal, even though I do not believe that either referee actually blew their whistle, signalling a frozen puck. This was puzzling to me as the first two rulings were made immediately and they apparently did not believe that there was enough proof to overrule. This time, though the initial call appeared to be goal and there did not appear to be enough to overturn. A reasoning that is used sometimes at the NHL level is "intent to blow." There is a chance that they used this, though since, this is the WHL, we will not be told whether this is what they used. Regardless, this was easily the biggest head scratcher on a night filled with these type of rulings.

Adin Hill was one of the big reasons Portland was able to keep Victoria scoreless through 40 minutes. He stopped 37 of the 40 shots he faced. Outhouse, meanwhile, was game for 26 of Portland's 27 shots.

Both teams were 0/4 on the power play.


F/O %
Bukarts 0 1 1 1 - - 3 0 0
Glass 1 0 1 3 5/10 50% 3 0 0
Schoenborn 0 0 0 6 - - 6 0 2
Abols0002 --467
Veloso0000 --500
De Jong0001--010
MacEachern0000  --030

Game Notes:
-Evan Weinger continued to play up with Dominic Turgeon and Rodrigo Abols and he had two shots for the second straight game.
-Due to only starting 11 forwards, Rihards Bukarts was double-shifted with Portland's fourth line.
-I will fully admit that I've been down on Carter Czaikowski for most of the last two seasons. I had the belief that he was just too small and did not have a long enough reach to be a top-four level of d-man at this level. I even thought that there was a strong possibility he would not make the team next season as an 18-year-old. His recent play has definitely changed my mind. The play he made on the goal line was one of the best defensive plays a Portland d-man has made this season. He has also improved with his stick-work on onrushing forwards.
-This was Ethan Price's first game back in the Rose City since he left the team last year.
-Victoria has the second best penalty kill in the WHL and I came away impressed in this one. They gamble by putting a lot of high pressure on a team breaking out of their own zone, but boy does it work. During two of Portland's PPs they struggled just getting the puck into the Royals' zone.
-An impressive six blocked shots for Rodrigo Abols. He has played, as of late and was the unlucky guy on both disallowed goals for Portland.
Winterhawks in the NHL:
-Matt Dumba one-timed his sixth goal of the year, on the power play to open the scoring, but Minnesota fell to the N.Y. Rangers 4-2.
-Ryan Johansen scored a nifty goal against Philadelphia, but his Nashville Predators still fell 6-3. He also had an assist in the loss.

-Marian Hossa had career goal number 495 overturned early in the first period of a 5-4 Chicago OT win over Arizona. He then responded, though, by scoring a pretty goal later in the period to ensure that he is only four away from 500.
-Sven Baertchi assisted on the one Vancouver Canuck in their 2-1 loss to Columbus.
-Derrick Pouliot notched an assist as Pittsburgh fell to Tampa Bay 6-3.
-Seth Jones had an assist as his Columbus Blue Jackets came back and beat Calgary 2-1.
-Matt Dumba scored another power play goal, but Minnesota lost again, this time 4-1 to St. Louis.
-Ryan Johansen got Nashville started out right as he assisted on their first two goals and they went on to beat San Jose 6-2.
-Marian Hossa notched career goal number 496 and Chicago blew out Dallas 5-1.

Winterhawks in the AHL:
-The Toronto Marlies jumped out to a 5-0 lead, helped out by an assist from Brendan Leipsic. Nic Petan scored for Manitoba to help close the gap, but they still fell 6-2 to Toronto.
-Travis Ehrhardt returned to the lineup and notched an assist for Utica and they beat St. John's 5-2.
-Jason LaBarbera stopped 25 of 20 shots and Lehigh Valley could not stop Bridgeport 6-3.
-Craig Cunningham assisted on two Springfield goals including the one that sent it to overtime, but the Falcons still fell to Wilkes Barre/Scranton 4-2 in OT.
-Taylor Aronson set up a power play goal and Milwaukee beat Rob Klinkhammer and Bakersfield 7-3.
-Tyler Wotherspoon got a secondary assist as he helped Stockton make a game of it, but the Heat eventually fell 4-2 to San Diego.
-Mac Carruth was chased from the net as he gave up four goals on 11 shots for Rockford in a 9-1 loss to Grand Rapids.
-Nic Petan played the OT hero for Manitoba as they got revenge on Toronto 6-5. Chase De Leo had two more goals for Manitoba and Brendan Leipsic had an assist for Toronto.
-Jason LaBarbera was chased from the net by Hershey, who scored five goals on him after 40 minutes and beat Lehigh Valley 5-1.
-Rob Klinkhammer scored his fourth goal in the AHL this year and Bakersfield beat Stockton 4-3.
Winterhawks in the ECHL:
-Miles Koules set up the eventual game-winner for Quad City in a 4-2 win over Rapid City.
-Daniel Johnston and William Wrenn each assisted on the one Alaska Aces' goal, but they fell to Idaho 2-1.
-Tristan King got an assist for Allen as they beat Wichita 5-3.
-Kevin Young scored one of Reading's six goals, en route to a 6-0 win over Wheeling.
-Daniel Johnston scored his third goal of they year as Alaska fell to Idaho 5-2.
-Gasper Kopitar had an assist for Manchester, but they fell to Elmira 5-4.

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